Tuesday, 1 January 2019


Socks used to be regarded as the dullest of Christmas presents. Not this year! Received from daughter a set of spectacularly coloured artistic socks, of which this is the most special. Socks by Marc Chagall, the favourite painter of my youth.

I am currently wearing them but photographed them unworn since, at the moment of writing, they are almost completely covered by my trousers and shoes.

I could, I suppose, draw up my trouser legs to display them in situ and photograph them for the purposes of display but it would be a rather strange gesture. Socks are somewhere between accessory and underwear. Ties are distinctly accessory: boxer shorts are underwear. One could have a Chagall tie or Chagall boxer shorts but neither is of quite the level of significance as Chagall socks. A flash of aesthetic sock offers a semi-discreet glimpse into the wearer's personality. Neither ties nor boxer shorts could be regarded as semi-discreet.


Socks are also the least glamorous item of clothing. Socks are anti-erotica. The sight of a naked man in his socks, however pornographically engaged, is enough to put desire into an immediate coma. Socks are a matter between a man and his feet.

Socks have none of the allure of tights, stockings or the old fashioned suspender belt as worn by women. I take my guidance from Cole Porter on this: "In olden days a glimpse of stocking / Was looked on as something shocking". Enough said.

Those lines could not be sung with any conviction about socks.

But since something has to come between my feet and my shoes while maintaining an intimate relationship with both it gives me a glow of inner confidence and surreal pleasure to know that Marc Chagall is down there, eye-to-eye with nature in the form of a cow. I may be sober at the top but it's carnival at my feet.

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